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Africa shines at Marrakech Fashion Week

The second cycle bets on youth and charm of places

Tuesday – 29 Shaban 1444 AH – 21 March 2023 AD Issue Number [16184]

Marrakesh: «Asharq Al-Awsat»

The second edition of Marrakech Fashion Week was controversial and sensual. Like other capitals of the world, the city has been dreaming for some time to establish its name as a global fashion capital. Similar to New York, Milan, Paris, London, and most recently Dubai. You do not see that it is different or less than any other country that has a fashion week, as there are hundreds of weeks now to the extent that their dates and programs conflict with each other, which misses a lot. At the time when the Marrakech week was held, for example, the Portuguese city of Porto was also witnessing its own week, and so on.

The young designers directed their imaginations towards Africa as instructed (Photo: Abdul Rahman Al Mokhtari)

The supervisors of Marrakech Week know that the road is long and the competition is fierce, but they are betting on the magic of the places that the city embraces. It suffices to mention the name of Marrakesh to jump to the imagination, dreamy images and warm colors that have always inspired great designers, the most important of which is Yves Saint Laurent, to whom the red city probably owes a lot in the field of fashion, and Churchill, whose paintings still decorate his room in the Mamounia Hotel, except that the Akafi desert With its light that opens the soul to photography, it is not surprising that the week in this session bets on these places, from deserts, palaces, gardens and squares that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. We only have to go back a little bit to remember the “Dior” show in the Badi Palace square, whose echoes still reverberate whenever reference is made to the places that constitute important backgrounds for international fashion shows. In the last week of Marrakech, these places were an opportunity for the audience to discover or enjoy their aesthetics. As for the fashion that was displayed, although it reflects imagination and a desire to prove oneself, its arrival to the world in its correct sense may require a strong infrastructure and more global ideas.
Since the first day of the demonstration, the Mamounia Hotel hosted a presentation press conference, while the Hespress Coffee Factory space hosted, on the second day, an exhibition of Hayam Rahmani’s works. Moroccan plastic artist specializing in string art. On the third day, Al Manara Gardens hosted fashion shows for young talents from fashion schools, and on the fourth day, Caroline Musaimi, Dar Al Kaftan, Ramadi Urban Baladi and Lynn de Jour. While the program concluded at the Alkmaar Camp in Akfay, on the outskirts of Marrakech, with a party for performances by Couvre Couture, Neil Creation, Ghaitha Chraibi and Alfadi Seidnali.

Some young designers tended to develop the caftan (Photo: Abdul Rahman Al Mokhtari)

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Spaces that have their own particularities and cultural and geographical distinction: Al-Manara Gardens, known for its lush gardens and its cistern dating back to the twelfth century AD, and its royal dome that dates back to the eighteenth century, and the famous Mamounia Hotel with its modern history surrounding its tourist weight, as well as the “Alkmaar Camp” space in Akfay. , with its barren hills and semi-desert climate, which turns into an idyllic canvas at night.
Marie Bogert, President of the Marrakech Fashion Week Association, the organizer of the event, compared the previous session with this year’s session, in terms of the spaces hosting the activities of the demonstration, noting that the first session was organized in Badi Palace, Majorelle Garden and Metal Golf, while the paragraphs of the second session were programmed in different spaces. It also has its symbolism, centered on the lighthouse gardens, as it touched on the theme of water that characterizes this historical space. Bogert stressed that these choices, at the level of the spaces receiving the activities of the demonstration, would show the archaeological and cultural features of the Red City.
The first session was organized in October 2022, and it was a success, according to its organizers, who say that Marrakech Fashion Week is a non-profit project, whose goal is to promote Moroccan fashion globally. And they stress that it came to last, not to be a one-season bang.
The introductory press conference for the second session was appropriate to raise an issue that overshadowed the launch of the demonstration, represented in the fact that Marrakech hosted, during the previous week, a demonstration similar in its theme, name and brand “MFW”, under the name “Moroccan Fashion Week”, whose program included a fashion show by designers from Several countries, and an exhibition of the caftan and the products of traditional Moroccan crafts, and it continued between the 8th and the 12th of the same month. The difference between the two is that the current week is also a cultural event that celebrates various arts, such as its hosting of the Rahmani exhibition, which enriched the event, and was related to fashion, or rather the craft aspect of it. The experience, in particular, is based on drawing with strings, through the weaving of artistic paintings, which came as a result of research and planning based on the accumulated scientific achievement and studied techniques, which combine engineering, mathematics controls, and the expressive content of artistic practice.
The artwork, according to Rahmani, is accomplished on wooden boards that are worked on with thread and nails according to creative specifics based on precise engineering data, starting from the circle to take on various dimensions that participate in the consistency of colors and shades.
On programming the organization of an exhibition centered on drawing with strings and nails, or “filography” or “string art”, as part of the activities of a demonstration centered on fashion and fashion shows, Rahmani indicated that the thread remains common between designers, plastic art and traditional artefacts.
On the fashion side, the celebration of Africa was present in most of the shows dedicated to young talents: 16 young designers competed for three awards. The association says that it accompanied them for two months to help them complete their formations as required. The young female designers’ shows were impressive, for the most part. Bogert summarized the audience’s impressions by saying that the participants had a “brilliant future”. As for the artist, Al-Khamlichi, she talked about “admirable courage in choosing,” referring to the ways in which these young people directed their imaginations towards Africa. The event also started in exciting spaces, and concluded with a ceremony held in the tourist camp «Alkmaar Camp», thirty kilometers from Marrakesh. It was exciting as its heights afforded a panoramic view of the Akfai desert. Here, the conclusion was held, through a desert-flavored show, and it was an opportunity to celebrate creativity, while at the same time supporting a noble cause that supports the “Childhood of Hope of Morocco” association, which was established in 1995 in Marrakech, and is of public interest, aiming to help abandoned newborn children to When you sponsor them, disabled children who are not taken care of because of their disability, children with special needs, and children in need of assistance, such as school supplies, clothes, medicines, nutrition, and others.

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